COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
The Columbia Police Chief's Vehicle Stop Committee met Tuesday evening to break down data on traffic stops, to discuss why racial disparities are happening in the stops and work to improve the disproportions.
Columbia Police Chief Geoff Jones created the Vehicle Stop Committee in 2019.
The 2021 Vehicle Stop Disproportions attachment says stops were down 20%, probably because officers had been ordered to concentrate on serious violations because of COVID.
The stop proportion against black drivers has remained high enough to raise concerns about discrimination.
The committee says a high disproportion does not prove officers are discriminating against black drivers, but it is evidence that must be taken seriously.
In 2021, black people made up 10.3 percent of Columbia's driving-age population but were subjects of 35.2 percent of Columbia Police Department traffic stops in 2020.
The report states an agency with a high disproportion has a responsibility to explain to its residents where the disproportion is coming from.
The report suggests that CPD officers may need some more adequate training and more feedback on how to record data.
The report says black drivers are disproportionately affected by investigative stops but there aren't enough of them to explain the overall disproportion.
The report says 147 black people, and 65 white people were stopped in 2021 for an odor search. In 2020, 285 black people and 99 white people were stopped for an odor search.
The report says searches based on the evidence of odor of drugs or alcohol have been another concern.
The report says 234 black people and 226 white people were stopped for an investigative reason. In 2020, 285 black people and 275 white people were stopped for an investigative reason.
A problem pointed out in the report is that CPD officers are not recording all stops with an investigative motivation, as required by the state law that mandates the Vehicle Stops Report. Data shows that officers are making stops related to 911 calls that are not recorded.
The report says consent searches are a good indicator of officer performance because they occur when officers are face to face with drivers. In consent searches, the threat is often low, and officers have a high level of discretion for requesting consent to a search.
In 2014, Black drivers were affected by consent searches at a rate per stop 4.39 times the rate for White drivers. The disproportion declined dramatically when officers were made aware they needed to be more careful about their consent searches, but disproportions are up again for 2021.
In 2021 95 black people and 123 white people were stopped for consent searches.
In 2020 177 black people and 231 white people were stopped for consent searches.
The number of consent searches declined in 2021, the report suggesting officers are being more careful about using them.